I have to confess: Growing up, I was always a little more excited about the fun party foods at Super Bowl parties than I was about the game itself. Since I no longer have the metabolism of a teenager, but have the capacity to still scarf down basket of buffalo wings before half-time, I decided to develop a buffalo chicken inspired appetizer that is low in fat and carbohydrates, but still big on taste.
I experimented with ground chicken, lean ground turkey, and 99% fat free turkey breast. To add moisture and a nutritional boost, I played around with cauliflower, zucchini and carrots. Both the ground chicken and regular turkey were too heavy. The turkey flavor was too intense. The cauliflower added moisture, but left a vegetable after taste. Ultimately, I came up with a formula using 99% fat free turkey breast, grated zucchini and grated carrot that is moist, delicious, low in fat, high in protein, and gluten free. The celery stick, aside from being a traditional buffalo wing accompaniment, makes the saucy meatballs easy to handle and dip in lowfat blue cheese dressing. It provides the perfect crunch and is another way to sneak in some veggies.
These buffalo-style meatballs are sure to score a touchdown with your game-day crowd!
Buffalo "Chicken" Lollipops
(makes approx. 27)
20 ounces (1.25 lbs.) 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey Breast
1/2 cup finely grated zucchini (approx. 1 medium, grated on the finest side of a box grater)
1/3 cup finely grated carrot (approx. 1 medium, peeled, then grated on the finest side of a box grater)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup of your favorite wing sauce (mine is Frank's Red Hot)
4 ribs of celery, sliced into quarters vertically, then cut in half horizontally (for a total of 8 pieces per rib)
Reduced fat Blue Cheese Dressing, for dipping (my favorite is Marzetti Simply Dressed Light, which can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores near the bagged lettuce.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine turkey, vegetables, spices beaten egg and 1 teaspoon wing sauce. I find hands to be the best tool for gently mixing the ingredients together. Do not squeeze or overmix.
Step 2: Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Scoop meat mixture into 2 Tablespoon sized portions. I tried making smaller balls, but they need to be big enough for the celery stick to be inserted without breaking the whole meatball apart. Roll portion gently between palms to form a smooth ball. Place on baking sheet.
Step 3: Bake meatballs on center rack for 15 minutes. While meatballs are cooking, melt butter in a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of wing sauce. Set aside.
Step 4: Remove meatballs from oven. Transfer meatballs to the bowl of sauce and toss to coat. Let the meatballs sit in the sauce while you raise the oven temperature to 450. Drain the moisture and wipe the grease from the baking sheet. Apply a fresh coat of nonstick spray.
Step 5: When oven has reached 450, give meatballs another toss in the bowl, then transfer, sauce and all to the baking sheet. Bake, on the top rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes.
Step 6: Place remaining portion of wing sauce in a small bowl. Gently insert a celery stick into the top of each meatball. Using the celery as a handle, pick up the meatball and roll in the remaining wing sauce to coat before plating. This step is optional, but gives the meatballs a nice final shine. Serve with low fat blue cheese dressing.
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